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AMD Radeon Pro W5500 Professional Graphics Card Review

The Radeon Pro W5500 has the same design as the other Radeon Pro graphics cards, with blue stripes, the branding in a silver stripe, and no indication of the card model anywhere to be seen. However, the W5500 is a single-slot card, where the W5700 is dual-slot.

 

The W5500 may have fewer Stream Processors than the W5700 – 1,408 versus 2,304 – but it runs them faster at a base clock of 1,354MHz, although the maximum boost is lower at 1,855MHz. Thanks to the 128-bit memory bus, despite having the same 8GB of GDDR6 running at 1,750MHz, the bandwidth is half as much at 224GB/sec. However, this is still better than the NVIDIA Quadro P2200's 200.2GB/sec. The latter uses a 160-bit memory bus, but has GDDR5X memory running at a much slower 1,251MHz. This all bodes well for a performance comparison with the P2200.

Like the W5700, the W5500 uses a PCI Express 4.0 interface, but only running at 8x, so interface bandwidth will be around the same as PCI Express 3.0 running with 16 lanes. However, there is a clear benefit here if you only have limited lanes, because you will use fewer of them up for graphics, and could have more left over for NVMe storage devices, for example.

Unlike the W5700, the W5500 uses full-sized DisplayPort connections. So it only has room for four of them on the backplane and there is no USB-C port either. However, display resolution support is excellent, as you can run all four connections simultaneously at up to 5K. Alternatively, you can drive a single 8K (7,680 x 4,320) monitor at up to 60Hz. These are great features for content creators working at high res or needing to supply lots of screens. The DisplayPort connections are all 1.4-capable.

All the usual acceleration APIs are supported, including OpenCL 2.1, OpenGL 4.6, Vulkan 1.2 and Shader Model 6.5. However, the reduced number of Stream Processors will likely mean the W5500 is not a particularly potent choice for GPGPU acceleration.

The W5500 only needs a single six-pin power connection, and has a TDP of 125W compared to the W5700's 205W. However, here the P2200 could potentially be preferable as its TDP is a mere 75W and it doesn't need an external power connector at all – it can get everything it needs through the PCI Express bus.

Overall, though, the W5500 has plenty of potential.

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